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Is exercise really that good for us?

After 2020 when there were virtually no sporting fixtures, we have had quite a few major sporting events already this year. From the Euros last month to the Tokyo Olympics that are taking place right now, there has been lots of media coverage of the events and the athletes.

I have so much respect for the elite athletes. They have trained their whole lives to reach their peak at just the right time, and the resilience that is needed in them to survive the gruelling pace of training is something to be applauded.

However, they are the ELITE athletes. Elite being the key word. To be at the top of your game, representing your country, and then to try and win on top of that is immense pressure and expectation. I am not at all surprised that quite a few elite athletes have decided to take a step back, or even leave competition all together recently. But why would they do this? They have worked so hard, why leave when they have essentially reached the last hurdle?

The key, as it is so often , is mental health. I know that mental health is the current buzz word but it is such an important thing to recognize. I hope it stays front and centre for a long time to come.

How we think, how we feel and how we react can have a direct impact on our physical health. Being aware that this pressure is building to such a degree in your mind will come out somewhere else. How many athletes do you know who have had major health problems after coming from such a high level of fitness? Has that been due to physical stress, mental stress or a combination of both?

The question I ask is, is it worth it? Is exercise really that good for us? I don’t think there is a right or wrong choice here. Of course, anyone can choose to do what they want in life.

Bringing this conversation to a more local level though, how many of us feel the pressure of everyday life and society? How many of us are not aware that we are even stressed to this level? Could it have become the norm for you now? But it is there and it is festering away. I am very mindful of this myself and I try to stay as fit and healthy as I can. And often that has almost nothing to do with exercise at all, but knowing when my body and mind need a break. Realising it and acting on it though are two very different things and both need to be addressed.

I often say ‘Bad news, you can’t have it all. Good new, you don’t need it all’ and I think this is key! You DON’T need it all. Do you need to be at peak fitness that requires you to be at the gym 6 times a week? Do you need to be that high achiever at work or have the kids with the highest grades?

I don’t think so. Being happy, comfortable and having the physical fitness we actually require will do wonders for our health. Understanding this and doing something about it is where 1st Step can come in.

We make exercise accessible to everyone and focus on functional health. You need to lead your best life and we can help you do just that. Exercise, when used correctly can have unlimited benefits for your mental health and in turn your physical and emotional health too.

Most of 1st Step clients don’t aspire to run the London marathon but they will try and manage to walk all day without experiencing shortness of breath and fatigue. For me that is what exercise is all about. Doing the best with what you have got.

So to answer the question, ‘Is exercise really that good for us?’ I believe it is when done the right way. What are your thoughts?

If you would like to know more about our services then please contact us on or call Kamal me on 07846 597460

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